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Breaking through the Border: Tips for Companies Employing Cross Border Employees

Breaking through the Border: Tips for Companies Employing Cross Border Employees

PRNewswire via YellowBrix

TORONTO, March 11 /PRNewswire/ – The globalization of business is occurring at an unprecedented rate. Focusing a corporation only on home soil dramatically limits the size of market a firm can serve. With this realization comes a push for business leaders to seek growth opportunities. This leads motivated companies across the border, expanding into the U.S. or Canada.

Unlike many locations overseas, cross border expansion offers a full spectrum of advantages such as the use of Western business models, English as the first language of business, highly developed infrastructure, and quality labor assets.

While there are similarities in organizational culture between the U.S. and Canada, it is crucial to the success of an expanding business to be aware of the disparity that exists as well. Companies unfamiliar with the differences between the Canadian and American employment fields can face many challenges. To ensure the transition is successful, it is vital that a company understand the legislative differences between Canada and the U.S. employment, and the consequences of overlooking those differences.

There are two major differences within American and Canadian employment environments: cultural and legislative. The history of social welfare in Canada has led to higher labor standards in areas such as employment insurance, collective bargaining, workers’ compensation, leaves and terminations. For example, it pays to be aware that in Canada most employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks protected maternity/parental leave, and “at-will employment” does not exist. Additionally, workplace alcohol and drug testing is much less prevalent in Canada – most mandatory testing is prima facie discriminatory and the employer will have to justify it as a bona fide occupational requirement.

Companies who fail to adhere to a country’s employment laws can find themselves in time consuming and costly litigation. For example, employees in Canada and the U.S. can file complaints against an employer through Employment Standards Tribunals, at no financial cost to the employee but at a significant burden to the employer in time and cost.